The NFL season has now been over for more than a week, with the Los Angeles Rams being crowned Super Bowl champions last Sunday. With that said, the offseason is officially here with all 32 teams looking ahead to free agency and the NFL Draft. Before the NFL Scouting Combine takes place next week at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, it is time for another mock draft from yours truly.
1) Jacksonville Jaguars – Evan Neal, OL, Alabama
While there aren’t too many locks in this draft, what the Jaguars do at first overall is virtually one. There still could be a possibility that they look to trade back for a major haul of picks. But if they stay here, Neal is the obvious choice. For a team in desperate need of protecting their franchise quarterback, Neal would provide a huge boost to Trevor Lawrence. He could start from day one at either tackle spot for Jacksonville, as Cam Robinson and Andrew Norwell are slated for free agency.
For more on Neal, check out our scouting report on him.
2) Detroit Lions – Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
On a lot of big boards, Hutchinson is the top overall prospect in the draft. The Lions need playmakers everywhere and the former Wolverine pass rusher can make an impact from day one. He fits the Dan Campbell mold of “biting off knee caps” with an array of solid pass-rushing moves and speed off the edge. The Michigan native was a Heisman finalist and would stay in his home state with the Lions.
For more on Hutchinson, check out our scouting report on him.
3) Houston Texans – Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
The stock of Thibodeaux has been dropped a bit, but the Texans need pass-rushing help and can’t overthink this. Jacob Martin and Jonathan Greenard are Houston’s two current starting edge rushers and the Oregon product would be a huge upgrade.
For more on Thibodeaux, check out our scouting report on him.
4) New York Jets – Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
The Jets need secondary help and snag the top safety in the draft in Hamilton. With this pick, the Jets don’t just draft for need, but they also draft a pure athlete who can make an immediate impact. Hamilton can make a similar impact that Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams made and completely reshape the worst defense in the league last year.
For more on Hamilton, check out our scouting report on him.
5) New York Giants – Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State
The offensive line is the biggest weakness for this Giants team, especially the interior. Billy Price and Will Hernandez are also impending free agents. Ekwonu can play anywhere along the line and would provide the Giants with options. When new general manager Joe Schoen was brought in, he emphasized building up the trenches.
For more on Ekwonwu, check out our scouting report on him.
6) Carolina Panthers – Tyler Linderbaum, iOL, Iowa
The Panthers need to build up their protection upfront, and Linderbaum is the best center in the draft. He is a specimen with phenomenal hand placement and incredible strength. Defensive linemen have trouble moving him off the block and will give the Panthers the center they have been looking for.
For more on Linderbaum, check out our scouting report on him.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
New York Giants receive picks 11 and 73. Washington Commanders receive pick 7.
7) Washington Commanders (via Giants, Chicago) – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Willis has firmly earned the number one quarterback title in a fairly weak class. He has the highest ceiling of them all as he has tremendous arm strength and running ability. The Commanders are in desperate need of a reliable quarterback, even if it takes trading up with a division rival. The Broncos are in need of a quarterback as well, so Washington jumps them to take Willis.
For more on Willis, check out our scouting report on him.
8) Atlanta Falcons – George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
The Falcons had one of the worst pass rushes in the league last year and need to beef it up before anything else. Karlaftis is a big-bodied and versatile EDGE that would give Atlanta a serious upgrade.
For more on Karlaftis, check out our scouting report on him.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Denver Broncos receive picks 12 and 77. Minnesota Vikings receive pick 9.
9) Minnesota Vikings (via Denver) – Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
After seeing the Commanders trade up to take Willis, the Broncos trade out of the top 10 while gaining an extra third-round pick. The Vikings jump the Jets to snag one of the top corners in the draft, in “Sauce” Gardner. They need to revamp their secondary under new head coach Kevin O’Connell and Gardner would do wonders for them. Over three years at Cincinnati, he recorded nine interceptions and was a key piece to their defense.
For more on Gardner, check out our scouting report on him.
10) New York Jets (via Seattle) – Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Despite getting sniped for Sauce, the Jets still get a solid option at cornerback. Booth has tremendous upside and is a very athletic corner with off-the-charts ball skills and the ability to play both zone and man coverage. The argument can be made for any of the top four cornerbacks for which is the best one, which includes Booth. He is very worthy of a top-ten pick and helps the Jets fill a big need.
For more on Booth, check out our scouting report on him.
11) New York Giants (via Washington) – Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M
The Giants trade back and attack the trenches yet again, picking up another guy who can play anywhere along the line. Green should slot right in at either guard spot or could slide over to right tackle with continued struggles from Matt Peart.
For more on Green, check out our scouting report on him.
12) Denver Broncos (via Minnesota) – Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
After failing to swing a trade for a top quarterback, the Broncos trade back a few spots and grab one here. Corral has a decent arm and twitchy legs while running an RPO-centric offense at Ole Miss. He is going to have to learn to adjust to a new offense but he can be a solid starting quarterback with development.
For more on Corral, check out our scouting report on him.
13) Cleveland Browns – Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Wilson is the top receiver in the draft, but the top 12 teams aren’t as receiver needy as in years past. With that, the Browns get the chance to keep Wilson in the state, while providing Baker Mayfield with a familiar and top-level weapon. Mayfield and Wilson actually attended the same high school, Lake Travis High School, where Wilson graduated from in 2019. Mayfield graduated in 2013, but they had thrown together a couple of times while Wilson was preparing for year one at Ohio State.
For more on Wilson, check out our scouting report on him.
14) Baltimore Ravens – Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Lamar Jackson was sacked a career-high 38 times last season which led to the Ravens’ offensive struggles. Cross is one of the top linemen in the draft and only allowed 16 pressures on 719 pass-block attempts in 2021. The big offensive tackle would be the protection Baltimore needs to provide Jackson.
For more on Cross, check out our scouting report on him.
15) Philadelphia Eagles – Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Due to his injury concerns, Stingley falls to the Eagles at pick 15. He’s overall the best cornerback in the draft and would create a deadly pairing with Darius Slay, as long as he is healthy. Stingley had 73 tackles, six interceptions, and two forced fumbles over his 25 career games.
For more on Stingley, check out our scouting report on him.
*** TRADE ALERT ***
Philadelphia Eagles receive Calvin Ridley. Atlanta Falcons receive pick 16.
16) Atlanta Falcons (via Philadelphia, Indianapolis) – Drake London, WR, USC
The Eagles pick up their new receiver to run with DeVonta Smith, while the Falcons turn the pick into his replacement. London doesn’t have great separation ability but he can bring down a lot of contested catches. He is far from a one-dimensional piece as he is quick and agile for his size, at 6’5”, 210 pounds, and would be a nice compliment to Brandin Cooks.
For more on London, check out our scouting report on him.
17) Los Angeles Chargers – Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
The Chargers struggled mightily to stop the run last season and need some help on the defensive line. Davis took a lot of hardware home last year and was one of the best players on Georgia’s championship-winning team. He is a monster at 6’6″ and 340 pounds and is a game wrecker who gives interior offensive lines tons of problems.
For more on Davis, check out our scouting report on him.
18) New Orleans Saints – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Michael Thomas didn’t play one snap last season and the Saints have a very thin receiving corp outside of him. Even if he is talked into coming back to play for them this season, New Orleans needs weapons. They might not have a real quarterback, but Olave has a very good route-running ability and possesses solid hands to beat defensive backs on jump balls. The Saints break their 10-year drought since they’ve drafted a wide receiver (Brandin Cooks – 2014).
For more on Olave, check out our scouting report on him.
19) Philidelphia Eagles – Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
After strengthening their secondary and grabbing a new receiver, the Eagles shift to rehashing their edge rush. Johnson had a tremendous week at the Senior Bowl to boost his stock into a virtual first-round lock. The Eagles need a pure edge rusher with Derek Barnett a free agent and Brandon Graham aging while also recovering from a torn Achilles. Josh Sweat needs a running mate and someone to feast on quarterbacks with him. Johnson fits that bill.
For more on Johnson, check out our scouting report on him.
20) Pittsburgh Steelers – Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
Big Ben officially hung up the cleats after the season, and the Steelers need a new face. They were reportedly high on Willis, but since he is already gone they have to settle. Howell didn’t have a good 2021 season, but he had a solid week at the Senior Bowl and has the arm strength and mobility that could appease Pittsburgh.
For more on Howell, check out our scouting report on him.
21) New England Patriots – David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
Bill Belichick and the Patriots love versatile, EDGE/linebacker hybrids. Ojabo has the potential that the longtime coach would be intrigued by and feel he could develop into an impact player. He has the athletic traits and tools to be a solid outside linebacker in Belichick’s scheme. Ojabo would just need some time to develop into a true three-down player and could be a pass-rush specialist early on.
For more on Ojabo, check out our scouting report on him.
22) Las Vegas Raiders – DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M
After a whirlwind 2021 season, the Raiders need help on both sides of the ball. One of the league’s best edge-rushing combos in Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue is under contract in 2022. But Leal provides versatility to play both inside and outside on the defensive line. He fits the mold of a Raiders’ pure pass-rushing talent and his athleticism can be used to defend the run.
23) Arizona Cardinals – Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
The Cardinals have a very thin cornerback room, as the only corners they have under contract are Bryon Murphy, Marco Wilson, and a pair of futures deals guys. Elam is great in man coverage, while Arizona ranked 31s in the league in Cover 1 coverage grade (29.6) last season. He would reunite with Florida teammate Wilson, who wound up starting as a rookie last season after Malcolm Butler retired before the season.
For more on Elam, check out our scouting report on him.
24) Dallas Cowboys – Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
It’s no secret the Cowboys are in need of a safety. Luckily for them, there are a few options to choose from here as they pick up the hybrid, ballhawk safety from Michigan. Hill flew all over the field for the Wolverines and fits really well into Dan Quinn’s defense. He has elite ball skills, reads the ball well, and has competitive fire in him.
For more on Hill, check out our scouting report on him.
25) Buffalo Bills – Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
The Bills lack a true No. 2 cornerback and Tre’Davious White was lost to a torn ACL last season. While White should be ready to return in 2022, McDuffie has excellent zone and man coverage skills, along with being a great athlete with effective tackling and stopping the run skills. He would bolster the already pretty strong Buffalo defense.
26) Tennessee Titans – Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
The Titans could end up losing two linebackers – Rashaan Evans and Jayon Brown – in free agency, making the position a priority. They have two premier players at the position to choose from at this pick, in Lloyd and the guy that goes at pick 29. It ultimately comes down to the high football IQ that Lloyd possesses along with being a tremendous athlete. The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year would make an impact from day one with his all-around talent.
For more on Lloyd, check out our scouting report on him.
27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
After taking home the Senior Bowl MVP, Winfrey saw his draft stock rise. While defensive tackle isn’t Tampa Bay’s biggest need, they value the position highly. Winfrey would have a good shot at starting from day one for the Buccaneers and would learn a lot next to Vita Vea. He also provides some versatility for Todd Bowles‘ defense.
28) Green Bay Packers – Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Is Aaron Rodgers traded? Does he retire? Do the Packers hit the rebuild/retool button? What about Davante Adams, do they let him walk or re-sign him? There are a lot of questions going into this offseason for the Packers. But whatever the answers are, they need more playmakers on offense. Even with Adams, there really aren’t many other top options in the passing game. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard are also free agents. Burks would be a game-changer in Matt LaFleur’s offense, with his versatility to play outside, in the slot, at running back, and in Wildcat. He would open things up for Rodgers or Jordan Love.
For more on Burks, check out our scouting report on him.
29) Miami Dolphins (via San Fransisco) – Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
The Dolphins have needs on the offensive side of the ball as well. But the first-round could be very defensive-heavy. Before too many top-end linebackers fall off the board, they snag one of the best defenders in the nation. The linebacker position is a big need for Miami and taking the Butkus Award winner (best linebacker in the country) would make a lot of sense.
For more on Dean, check out our scouting report on him.
30) Kansas City Chiefs – Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
The Chiefs have impending free agents in 30-year old Tyrann Mathieu, Daniel Sorenson, and Armani Watts, while Juan Thornhill is also entering the final year of his rookie contract. Kansas City needs to add a top-end safety early in the draft and Brisker is deserving of a first-round selection.
31) Cincinnati Bengals – Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
The obvious choice for the Bengals is to draft an offensive lineman in round one as they desperately need to protect their franchise quarterback Joe Burrow. The only question is which one will it be, as there are a plethora of options. But if Penning falls to them, he would be an easy pick. The small-school tackle from Northern Iowa had an impressive Senior Bowl that made him a first-round lock. He would be an immediate upgrade at either tackle position.
For more on Penning, check out our scouting report on him.
32) Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams) – Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
The quarterback class has been hard to gauge this year, but there are a few that could go in the first round. The fourth one off of the board to close out the first round is Heisman finalist Pickett. After seeing the other quarterback-needy teams pass on him, Detroit pounces at the chance. The five-year starter at Pitt had a historic season his senior year and has the experience to start from day one.
For more on Pickett, check out our scouting report on him.
Follow Alex Kielar on Twitter @AlexKielar
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